Forget the Super Bowl. Who Won the Twitter Bowl?

Superbowl meets Twitter

Superbowl meets Twitter

Monday morning wouldn’t be complete after a big game without a little Monday morning quarterbacking. And if it’s the day after the Super Bowl,
a recap of which ads viewers liked the best.

Along with crowds at sports bars and in living rooms across the
country, the Web 2.0-savvy could follow along with Super Bowl watchers
on Twitter, joining in on the game’s color commentary — and of course,
weighing in on the other big game: the ads!

The Web and your daily newspaper are no doubt awash in which brands
won and which brands lost the battle for buzz (and ideally, the positive
kind.) But it’s the advertisers who generated the most buzz on Twitter,
that next-generation arbiter of cool, that we’re most interested in.

One reason why Twitter makes for such compelling marketing analytics: It’s widespread, highly democratic and easily digestible. In
mainstream media, you’ve got to listen to a select number of pundits
pontificate on their favorite spots, while on Twitter, the only barrier
to an average user weighing in is signing up for Twitter and keeping
their thoughts to under 140 characters (fewer if they’re using hashtags.)

How did Twitter stack up against the pundits? AdAge’s
resident curmudgeon, Bob Garfield
, gave his top pick to Coke Zero’s Mean Troy Polamalu spot, followed by Monster.com’s moose, Denny’s mobsters and Hulu’s brain-rotting conspiracy ad, starring Alec Baldwin. James Poniewozik at TIME bestowed the victory laurels on Pedigree, Cash4Gold, Hulu and the NFL’s spot with Usama Young.

The Twitterati speak out

But on the Internet, it’s the Twitterati who got their say. Of
course, most of that consisted of blather like “OMG CASH4GOLD FTW
LOLZ!!!!!” Yet those that weren’t spewing semi-sensical Internet-speak
pointed to some intriguing trends. (Only, of course, if you believe
Twitter has some merit as a useful metric for analyzing messaging.)

Based purely on Twitter search, Denny’s, Cash4Gold, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hulu, Monster and CareerBuilder generated the most buzz among the Super Bowl’s dozens of advertisers.


How much? Each generated more than 1,500 posts (the max that Twitter
Search will display for any given search term) in the 12 hours after
initially airing during the game. All other advertisers just didn’t
generate the same levels of interest. (Sorry, E*Trade, SoBe and Cars.com.)

Next page: Let’s get a little more granular

Let’s get a bit more granular with hashtags. The crowd on #superbowlads
gave the highest marks to Pepsi’s spots, with its MacGruber
spot
claiming the lion’s share of users’ attention (about 400
posts). The rival #superads09
camp also gave the thumbs-up to Pepsi (with about 450 posts). Coke
(including the Coke Zero and Diet Coke brands) came in No. 2 with about
350 votes, er, posts, in each group, followed by Hulu (around 350 in
each hashtag group.)

Yet the deeper one gets into Twitter, the more users’ opinions
deviate from the norm. Cash4Gold barely rated among the hashtag users
on Twitter. But the term saw more than 1,500 mentions among all Twitter
users — right up there with Pepsi and Coke. Cash4Gold FTW LOLZ indeed!

GoDaddy, or NoDaddy?

The biggest loser, at least in terms of eliciting a positive brand
impression, may have been GoDaddy.com, which spawned #nodaddy, which is more or less a protest hashtag against the company’s. (Of course,
if GoDaddy pulls off another record number of signups as a result of the
ad, the joke’s on us.)

Next in line for big loser on Twitter is CareerBuilder, thanks to an
unexpected (by me, at least) backlash against koala-punching, as
featured prominently in its “Tips” spot. (And yet, no #koalapunch ?)

Still, it was humble Denny’s who may have pulled out the biggest
upset, even after the final whistle, with “Denny’s” becoming one of
Twitter’s most popular terms (inspired, it appears, from discussion of
tomorrow’s free breakfast offer.) Beating even “Steelers” — you know,
the team that won.

Is that actionable advertising impact? Hard to say — but it’s got
to mean something. Right?

Well, not
necessarily
. I should point out that it’s a widely held suspicion
that “buzz” around your ads doesn’t always equate to a lift in sales.
In fact, some have said that the least-liked Super Bowl ads have
actually performed the best.

Heck, GoDaddy.com has made a whole business based around that notion!

Since it, along with other dotcoms, enjoy something of a built-in
direct response metric associated with their campaigns — they have only
to take a look at post-game conversions to see if they got their money’s
worth on a Super Bowl ad — they presumably know perfectly well what
they’re doing… the Bob Garfields of the world be damned.

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